I was on board Lord Nelson ship at the Seed2Sailing – the launch party for this year’s Jubilee Sailing Trust Autumn Pumpkin Festival and Scarecrow Avenue, which will take place on Saturday 8th Oct 2016.
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;”
Sea Fever by John Masefield
The Jubilee Sailing Trust’s ship Lord Nelson was docked in Southampton and visitors were able to tour around her. Thanks to John and Sonja Davison I was able to go.
She is a barque, a 3 masted ship, square rigged on the fore and main masts with a fore and aft sail rigged on the mizzen. After many shipyard problems, she was finally completed by Vosper Thorneycroft at Woolston and entered service in 1986. Money was from donations including help from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Fund.
She is built on traditional lines. Sailors from 150 years ago would be able to find their way around the rigging and sail the ship. Below deck, they would find things very different.
The Jubilee Trust
The Jubilee Trust is a charity providing the challenge and adventure of sailing a tall ship for physically disabled people.
Each voyage takes 40 paying crew of which 20 are disabled; they may be blind, deaf, amputees or wheelchair bound for whatever reason.
Wheelchair users have a small cabin with 2 bunks, one for their ‘Buddy’. There are toilets and showers for disabled people. Throughout the ship there are clamping plates to secure wheelchairs in rough weather.
Joys of Sailing
Our guide, Maureen, said how she enjoyed going out on the bowsprit with a wheelchair. Normally a narrow spar, the Lord Nelson’s bowsprit is like a gangplank and a wheelchair can go out beyond the bows.
Maureen said how wonderful it was to be out there and look down on the dolphins and whales swimming along in the bow wave. Most people have a little of John Masefield in them.
Life on board is arranged into 4 watches. Everyone takes a turn at whatever they can do from helming to cooking and cleaning. There is a professional crew of 12 or so including Master, 1st Mate, Bosun (who has some medical expertise) and, of course, Engineers.
On the bridge, which is open to the weather, is the helmsman who steers. There is a lookout or watchman on each side. If necessary, the ship can be steered by a joystick rather than the ship’s wheel and the compass can be made to speak the heading so that even a blind person can helm.
Everyone plays a part
One of the sailors we met had neither arms nor legs. He told me that his most magical moment was helming at dawn just as the sun came up on the starboard side. What he liked was to be able to play a part in the team and do his bit. Thanks to technology he was able to play a useful role.
All labels for lockers, cleats, companionways are written in Braille as well as text. Our guide told us how quickly blind people find their way around and even climb the rigging.
At the stern is a flat area which can be used for sunbathing if you are lucky with the weather. If you are unlucky, each member of the crew has a harness which is clipped on to safety lines fixed around the deck. Below there are watertight doors in case torrents of water make their way aboard.
A new crew has an intensive 3-hour course of instruction. Evacuation and man overboard has to be practiced until the Master is satisfied everyone can do it within a short time.
Safety is important and depends on co-operation and supervision from the professional crew. You no longer get keel-hauled if you are persistently stupid but you may find yourself put ashore at the nearest port. Everyone has to watch out for their shipmates.
I guess the crew have to learn that there are no ropes on a sailing ship. No ropes? No, rope is called cordage and once in use it has a function and is known by its function.
There are stays, sheets, shrouds, painter, lanyards, hawsers, earings, cables, outhauls. I think one can refer to the anchor rope but that is all.
Voyages: last 1 – 10 days but longer passages are sometimes made.
The cost of running the ship:
It is about £200 per person per day. Much of this is met from charitable funds but crew are charged around £100 per day. Special efforts are made to provide bursaries and grants to help disabled sailors.
A Life enhancing experience
What do you get for the money?
There is nothing like accepting a challenge, understanding and meeting the difficulties and danger and successfully completing it.
Self-confidence and self-esteem are improved, new life skills and leadership are developed.
The Trust is dedicated to building bridges and understanding between the able and disabled. Disabled people are not ill; they are some of the fittest people around but there are some things they cannot do. It is good for the able to learn what the disabled can do and when to help.
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Saturday 8th Oct 2016: Jubilee Sailing Trust Autumn Pumpkin Festival and Scarecrow Avenue. Royal Victoria Country Park Netley Southampton. 12 noon – 5.30pm
— Sonja Davison (@jstpumpkin) May 6, 2016
Never miss out on another blog post. Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email